This is the Ichiro Suzuki that the New York Yankees were hoping they would get when they acquired him from Seattle on July 23rd. It was a low risk-high reward trade that saw the Yankees trade away pitchers DJ Mitchell and Danny Farquhar. When the Yankees acquired Ichiro, they made a roster move that was very head-scratching. They ended up designating Dewayne Wise for assignment. Wise, at the time, was really starting to find his groove. They opted to release him, and keep Andruw Jones. Jones at the time, was starting to struggle.
Ichiro had his first big moment in pinstripes yesterday, after going 7-8 in a day/night doubleheader against the Blue Jays. In game one, Ichiro made a very important basket catch to end the 8th inning and keep the bases loaded. In game two, Ichiro would drive in the game winning run in the 7th inning. In addition to going 7-8, Ichiro also stole four bases. Needless to say, the Ichiro that everybody saw last night was the Ichiro of old.
But if anything, last night should have opened up the eyes of manager Joe Girardi. Girardi has been hesitant to start Ichiro against left handed pitchers, opting instead to start Andruw Jones, who Ichiro has been sharing playing time with. However, YES Network broadcaster Michael Kay brought up an interesting statistic. Ichiro alone yesterday had seven hits. Andruw Jones only has nine hits in the last month. If that is not the definition of struggling, then I do not know what is.
The problem with Andruw Jones is simply the fact that he is either going to strike out or hit a homerun. Jones is unable to get a hit when the Yankees need it, and he is not all the fielder that he used to be. As of September 2oth, Jones is hitting .197 with 13 homeruns and 32 RBIs.
Ichiro on the other hand has performed well since coming to the Yankees. Since July 23rd, Ichiro is hitting .317 with three homeruns and seventeen RBIs. He has also collected 52 hits in 53 games since becoming a Yankee. Thirteen of those hits have gone for extra bases. He has stolen 10 bases and has had an OBP of .337. Much better compared to Andruw Jones’ OBP of .292.
So with Ichiro playing very well since coming over to New York, I always question Joe Girardi when he decides to start Andruw Jones over him instead. I can only help but wonder what the team would be like if they had opted to keep the speedy pure hitter in Dewayne Wise instead of the homerun-or-strikeout Andruw Jones. Would they have won a few more games? It is possible, but we will never know.
With Ichiro’s success, he has shown that he should be starting every game instead of being part of a platoon in the outfield. Let’s face it, Ichiro has been miles better than Jones has been, showing that the Yankees really have no need for Jones anymore. For a while now, Jones has been inefficient and unreliable, whereas Ichiro has been exactly the opposite. While the Yankees will keep Jones around through the rest of the season, I am sure that he will not make the playoff roster, or be brought back for the 2013 season.
So Andruw Jones, thanks for whatever you have done… But this Yankees fan feels that your services are no longer required.
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